Video Games have become one of the biggest forms of entertainment of today; bigger than the movie business in fact – in the US it is the 3rd largest behind broadcast and satellite TV. For this reason, video game voiceovers have become increasingly sought after.
In the process, it has created a new type of global star; the actor who plays the voiceover of these new superstar characters. If you think of how resonant the voice of an animated film character is when you watch a film once, imagine how impactful the voice of a games character can be on the player when they play that game many hundreds of times.
So much so that when the actor playing the voice of a legendary character records the voice of a character in another game, legions of fans are attracted to play that game purely because that voice has become such a part of their life.
How do you become one of those voices I hear you ask, well normally you will have to be cast by a voice-over production company, like VoiceOver Soho, working with the developer of the game. In our recent productions of Sherlock Holmes “Crimes and Punishments” we had to cast extensively for the character of Sherlock himself as well as Watson, Moriarty his nemesis as well as Inspector Lestrade and many other characters. Firstly we listened to actor’s Character Reels, which is a voice reel showing the range of the actor’s ability in a series of quickly edited vignettes. This is especially useful in casting games as unlike film or TV where one actor may have to play several parts. Then we brought the actors in to audition in-depth for the multiple characters. Once our casting was complete we presented it to the developer for approval. The characters were then tested in game simulations with gamers to get their feedback, this was especially critical with Sherlock as he was destined to play in the continuing series of the game.
When we have cast our game we then bring the actors back into the studio for the actual recording. We like to have the characters playing in scenes together and record with each other in the studio – it’s not always the case in other productions, but it goes without saying that this gives added realism and spontaneity to the performances of the actors when they work off each other rather than working individually in isolation.
In a game like Sherlock, there are many thousands of lines to record for each case that he might investigate and we also have to provide options for every possible eventuality that may be feasible within in the game. This can get complicated with all the multiple interactions across many story lines of investigation. Once we have all the lines recorded each one is edited, named and converted into a digital file and sent to the developer for implementation in the game. There will then normally be a round of correcting any errors until all the characters are working seamlessly with each other and then comes the momentous day when everything is complete and the game is released. That’s when we can play the game with all our loving crafted character ready to investigate the next thrilling adventure of Sherlock Holmes.
So there you have it, a brief introduction of how the voices of game characters are cast and recorded and just maybe with your Character Reel at the ready, you can become a superstar games voice of the future!